By Thomas Griffin, co-founder and president of OptinMonster

The holidays serve as a great reminder of the importance of giving back. Giving back is not only beneficial to your community, but it can make you and your employees feel great, too.

According to a 2017 study published in Nature Communications, the participants who chose to give back instead of spending money on themselves reported higher levels of happiness. In the colder, dreary winter months, this mood booster is necessary to keep company morale high

But, aside from just choosing a charity that your company can donate money to, how can your business get more involved and create a culture of giving back?

Here are four ways your business can give back this holiday season and beyond.

Make time for volunteering. 

Volunteering is a great way to give back and spend more quality time with your team members. So, select a day or two in the next month or two when you and your team can get away from the office to volunteer. 

Do a little online research, and find out what local charities are looking for volunteers this season. Consider choosing a cause to volunteer for that aligns with your company values. For instance, if you own a restaurant, you and your staff can volunteer to cook or serve a delicious, warm dinner at a homeless shelter. Volunteering will allow you to give back and build your brand’s presence in the community. 

Hold a charity drive. 

Aside from volunteering out in the community, you can give back right from your office by holding a charity drive. With a charity drive, you and your team members can work together to gather items that can be donated to charities or to people that need them. 

For example, hold a charity drive, and ask your staff to donate items of professional clothing they no longer need; there are many charities that take clothing donations to help those in need to reenter the workforce with confidence. You could also gather canned food and donate it to a local food bank in your community. A charity drive to gather used clothing, canned food or other items is something that all of your employees can easily participate in. 

Hold a holiday party for your community. 

Another fun way your business can give back this season is by holding a holiday party for your community. Instead of only having an internal holiday party for your staff, have another holiday party that’s open to your customers and other members of your community. It doesn’t have to be anything big or fancy; playing some festive music and handing out cups of hot chocolate will do. 

Invite your local customers, too. Having a holiday party for your customers is a great way to let them know you appreciate them and will help you form stronger relationships. Not only will you please your existing customers with a holiday party, but it’s also a great opportunity to meet new people that could become customers in the near future. 

Reward your employees. 

Giving back to your community is important, but you can’t forget about your employees. The holiday season is the perfect time to let your team members know that you care. The holidays are a stressful time for many, and according to Indeed data in 2016, many employees think about finding a new job once the New Year rolls around.

So, take the extra time to show your team members that they’re appreciated. As a result, they’ll be less likely to search for a new job and feel happier in their position.  

Don’t just hand out generic boxes of chocolate, though. Instead, give them a gift card to a restaurant. Or, you can give them something more meaningful: A simple handwritten card thanking your employees for their hard work and wishing them happy holidays will show them you’re thinking of them this season. 

These actionable tips for giving back are easy to implement at your business. Do some of these charitable and kind acts every year, and you can facilitate a company culture of giving back.

Thomas Griffin is co-founder and president of OptinMonster. He is an expert software architect with a deep knowledge of building products for the mass market.